December 29, 2009

Conn. puts $6M into Positive Train Control system

On Tuesday, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced $6 million for engineering work on a Positive Train Control (PTC) system for Metro-North's New Haven commuter rail line in Connecticut. PTC systems are automated safety backups that monitor a train's speed and ensure it slows down or stops as required along its route.

"This is another sign of our significant commitment for enhancing rail travel in Connecticut," Gov. Rell said. "We are doing all we can to encourage people to get out of their cars and aboard Connecticut's commuter trains, so it is logical to make improvements like these that add to the protections we already have in place."

The funding will pay for the preliminary engineering work necessary for a PTC system, which the federal government has mandated be in widespread use by 2015. Connecticut's Department of Transportation and Metro-North anticipate using a system similar to the one already in place on Amtrak trains.

PTC systems use radio signals sent from locomotives or control cabs to rail-side transponders that check speeds at places like switches, train stations, curves, work areas and other locations where trains may need to slow down or stop. The transponders signal the train to change speed and can "enforce" the order if it is not followed; making the system another layer of safety in case the engineer is disabled.

 

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